The European Commission today confirmed that UEFA's financial fair play regulations are in line with European Union (EU) State aid policy.
UEFA President Michel Platini and vice-president of the European Commission and commissioner for competition Joaquín Almunia published a joint statement on the issue, emphasising the consistency between the rules and objectives of financial fair play and the policy aims of the commission in the field of State aid. This joint statement was annexed to an exchange of letters between Mr Platini and vice-president Almunia, following a meeting between them in Brussels in December 2011.
The UEFA President said: "I am very pleased that UEFA and the European Commission have together taken this decisive step to secure a prosperous and stable future for European football and for the European football community generally. Our statement confirms that UEFA's financial fair play regulations are fully consistent with EU State aid policy and I would like to sincerely thank vice-president Almunia and the European Commission for their commitment, constructive spirit and cooperation in this joint process."
Mr Almunia, vice-president of the commission in charge of competition policy, said: "I fully support the objectives of UEFA's financial fair play rules as I believe it is essential for football clubs to have a solid financial foundation. The UEFA rules will protect the interests of individual clubs and players, as well as the football sector in Europe as a whole. I would like to congratulate President Platini for his leadership on this issue."
Since the meeting between the UEFA President and the commission's vice-president last December, the services of UEFA and the European Commission have been working together to analyse how the financial fair play measures fit within the framework of EU State aid policy. Today's joint statement is the result of this work and expresses, in a concrete way, the common concerns and common objectives of both organisations.
As requested by the European football community and following consultation with all stakeholders, the UEFA Executive Committee approved the financial fair play measures in May 2010. These measures include an obligation for clubs to balance their books over a period of time and not to spend more than they earn, thereby curtailing the excesses that have endangered football's health in recent times. In this way, the measures are designed to protect the long-term health and viability of European club football.
Both UEFA and the European Commission have also underlined the need to ensure that the rules are applied in a uniform manner to all clubs, to avoid any risk of discrimination or unequal treatment. Finally, the joint statement records that UEFA and the commission will continue their cooperation in this field, in order to address related issues of common concern.
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